By: A. Freimann
A city in Rhenish Prussia, in which a Jewish settlement flourished during the time of the Roman empire. In the Carlovingian period there was a colony of Jews near the royal palace; and the Jewish merchants of Aix-la-Chapelle are referred to in a capitulary of the eighth century. In 802 Isaac, who had accompanied the ambassador of Charlemagne to the calif Harun-al-Raschid, made his ceremonial entrance into the royal residence of Aix-la-Chapelle. Among the Jews of Aix-la-Chapelle in 828, a certain David is mentioned, who had admired the wonderful cures of Einhard (Eginhard). For the next four hundred years the records are silent concerning the Jews; and not till 1227 is there another important entry. In that year Frederick II. presented the Jews to Count Wilhelm of Jülich as an imperial fief. The records of the Church of St. Mary show many Jewish converts in the thirteenth century. In 1247 a Jew of Aix-la-Chapelle, Mannis (also called Troist), acquired half a house called "Aquis" (that is, Aachen) at Cologne. An Isaac of Aachen and his son Jacob are mentioned in the "Judenschreinsbuch" of Cologne, 1270-75; also a Solomon of Aachen and his son Vivis, 1280-81. In the fourteenth century the presence of Jews at Aix-la-Chapelle is probable, though not certain. At the coronation of Maximilian I. (1486),the Jews offered homage and gave him magnificent presents. It is certain that Jews resided at Aix-la-Chapelle during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and that they contributed largely to the state treasury. The expulsion of the Jews in 1629 caused the serious loss to the city in tax receipts of 136 gold guilders. In 1667, against the protest of the city council, six Jews were allowed to return. In 1777, the duke of Jülich yielded to the city of Aix-la-Chapelle the Jewish tax, which had been his prerogative. On May 16, 1815, the Jewish congregation, dating from about the end of the eighteenth century, offered homage in its synagogue to the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III. The present synagogue was built in 1860 (see illustration opposite). A cemetery was acquired in 1851. The office of rabbi was held by Dr. Rothschild from 1847 to 1859; by Dr. Wolffsohn, 1861 to 1875; and by Dr. Taubes, 1876. Dr. Jaulus is the present rabbi. In 1900 there were 2,100 Jewish residents at Aix-la-Chapelle.
- O. Dresemann, Die Juden in Aachen, 1887;
- Stern and Hoeniger, Das Judenschreinsbuch, Nos. 27, 28, 118, 119, 120, 141-143;
- Aronius, Regesten zur Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland, p. 240.